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Global recycling program aims to unite portioned coffee manufacturers

The Nespresso Sustainability Advisory Board (NSAB) has invited external coffee manufacturers to join its recycling program in the hopes more aluminium coffee capsules will be recycled.

During its annual meeting in Geneva, the NSAB endorsed the initiative, which aims to improve the accessibility and convenience of aluminium capsule recycling.

Companies who join the Nespresso recycling program will take part in defining a funding and governance model for the recycling of these capsules.

Until now, Nespresso’s 28-year recycling scheme was offered exclusively to its customers. Today, the scheme covers 53 countries with more than 100,000 drop-off points.

While many initiative’s such as this one are being put in place to stop the amount of waste that comes from using aluminium coffee capsules, other advice has been published to stop the use of these capsules altogether.

The University of Melbourne, encourages its students to steer clear of single use coffee pods.

Advice given on its website includes making “the greenest choice”, which is to bring a cup to a café or purchase a coffee machine where beans are used in bulk so that no throw-away pods are used.

According to the university, Australians consume about 3 million single-serve coffee pods every day and they are too small to be sorted correctly in the current recycling system.

However, what Nespresso’s initiative highlights is that coffee pods can be recycled correctly if companies unite for the cause.

NSAB member and Rainforest Alliance chairman of the Board Daniel Katz said recycling initiative has the potential to drive significant positive change on one of the key issues that faces the portioned coffee industry – the capsules themselves.

“Nespresso has worked with the Rainforest Alliance for 16 years on sustainably-sourced coffee,” said Katz.

Nespresso CEO Jean-Marc Duvoisin said aluminium is a valuable material and is infinitely recyclable.

“By inviting other companies to join our system, we hope to offer a solution for the whole category.

“This decision is aligned with our global initiatives to shape a waste-free future and drive behaviour change towards a circular economy,” said Duvoisin.

According to Nespresso, the aluminium from its recycled capsules has many and varied uses including creating new coffee capsules. The coffee grounds are used to produce biogas and natural fertiliser.